Calangute: The renovation and restoration of the former central jail at Fort Aguada is being carried out without any supervision by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), said Heta Pandit, founder member and chairperson of Goa Heritage Action Group.
The structure is being converted into a museum. The monitoring by ASI is necessary as per the conditional no-objection certificate (NOC) given by the National Monuments Authority (NMA), Pandit added.
This lack of supervision is leading to destruction of historical facets of the site, Pandit told TOI. “The tourism department through the Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) has actively perpetrated the destruction of the 16th century Aguada jail in the name of renovation,” Pandit said.
The aquifer was once the largest supply of fresh water in the whole of Asia. Today, the wall is broken, the azulejos decorating the spring destroyed, and the spring is dry, she said.
“The main entrance to the jail has been demolished and replaced by cement blocks. Cement washes have covered the old lime plaster in the jail cell blocks. The entire Mangalore tiled roof has been replaced by a UPVC (synthetic) roofing,” said Pandit.
As per documents obtained by her using RTI, Pandit said there is no memorandum of understanding (MoU) between GTDC and ASI in accordance with the conditional NOC given by the North Goa Planning and Development Authority (NGPDA).
“Almost every structure is marked as being ‘of no historical/heritage value’ by the consultants,” she added.
The museum, work on which is currently under way, is expected to be opened in February 2021, and will showcase Goa’s freedom struggle and Goan artifacts.